A Sick Day for Amos McGee
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  7,799 ratings  ·  1,164 reviews
Amos McGee, a friendly zookeeper, always made time to visit his good friends: the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros, and the owl.
But one day - "Ah-choo!" - he woke up with the sniffles and the sneezes. Though he didn't make it into the zoo that day, he did receive some unexpected guests.
Philip C. Stead's gently humorous tale of friendship and dedication...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Roaring Brook Press (first published May 2010)
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City Dog, Country Frog by Mo WillemsA Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. SteadChalk by Bill ThomsonArt & Max by David WiesnerBink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo
2011 Caldecott Hopefuls
2nd out of 78 books — 135 voters
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgSylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
Caldecott Medal Winners
37th out of 77 books — 266 voters

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Community Reviews

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Sometimes children’s book reviewers bandy about the term “classic” like it was a verbal shuttlecock. There’s nothing that raises the savvy readers’ eyebrows faster than to see some wordsmith drooling profusely over “a new classic” or a book merely “destined to become a classic”. Even worse is when they start calling a book “old-fashioned”. Nine times out of then what they’re talking about is the fact that the book parrots some picture book title of the past. That’s the crazy thing about A Sick D...more
This 2010 debut is up for some awards and for good reason. I think it's got a glorious "classic" feel in both the illustrations and the text; it is just so gentle and yet full of humor and imagination and good-heartedness and fun. Amos McGee is the sort of old man that I admire so deeply; one who has taken his old years as a blessing rather than a curse and who shares his time and his wisdom and kind heart with others. In this case, he works at a zoo and spends time with each animal there, getti...more
Lisa Vegan
Jan 30, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: bedtime reading for kids who like quiet stories, animals & who enjoy being amused
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I was sure I’d dock at least one star from my rating of this book because a zoo features prominently in the story, and I hate zoos. Huge thumbs down on zoos from me. But this story has enough fantastical elements that I ended up not being concerned with the over the top benign way this zoo, and its animals and zookeeper/zoo worker, were presented.

I love that Amos has a teddy bear, and I particularly love the relationships between Amos and the several of the animals who are in the story.

The illu...more
Feb 04, 2011 Natalie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Natalie by: scbwi
My daughter read A Sick Day for Amos McGee aloud to me before she went to sleep and it was a treat for both of us.

I love stories for children where older characters retain a child-like quality of bonhomie and easy camaraderie. Amos has both which makes him irresistible to me. The structure of this book is really comforting too, a there and back again plot where the protagonist goes on a journey wherein the reader is introduced to everyone worth knowing and then they are separated but not for lo...more
I was utterly charmed by this book. It has a gentle humor, a sweetness and an inherent loveliness that really makes it special.

Amos McGee got up early every morning, changed into his uniform, and headed to work at the City Zoo. Even though he had a busy work schedule, he always had time to visit his friends. He played chess with the elephant, ran races with the tortoise, sat quietly with the shy penguin, wiped the rhino’s runny nose, and read books to the owl who was afraid of the dark. But one...more
This book came to me highly recommended, and lived up to it all (not an easy thing to do!).

This is an incredibly sweet, fantastical story about a zookeeper who spends his time with his good friends at the zoo (and those friends are the animals, of course!).
He does all sorts of fun things (like playing chess with the elephant) or thoughtful things (like sitting with the penguin who is shy) and truly seems to have a bond and friendship with them.
So, when Amos McGee doesn't come into work one day,...more
Lovely and sweet. I really enjoyed the simple story and loved the drawings. My son loved the animals and named them over and over on each page. (He especially loved the owl and the balloon.)
I've decided to base my rating on the illustrations, since that's what this book is known for. (It won the 2011 Caldecott.) The story itself is three stars for me. Perhaps I'm a grump but the touch of McGee asking his sugar pot for sugar every morning was just...saccharine (pun intended). The writing had a hard road to climb afterward. Also, as a Notable Children's Book panelist pointed out at ALA Midwinter this year, the story is a little too close to Lobel's A Zoo for Mister Muster for comfort...more
Chelsea Gail Smith
A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead is a story about a zookeeper who has become great friends with the animals at the zoo. The animals that are talked about in the story are an elephant, a tortoise, a penguin, a rhinoceros, and an owl. Each of these animals has a special thing that they do with Amos. The Elephant and him play chess, him and the tortoise run races, he sits quietly with the penguin, and gives the rhinoceros a handkerchief who had a...more
Amos McGee is an elderly zoo keeper at the City Zoo in A Sick Day for Amos McGee . But, he is not like every zookeeper. He spends his days playing chess with the elephant, racing the tortoise, sitting quietly with the shy penguin, lending a handkerchief to the sneezy rhinoceros and reading bedtime stories to the owl, who is afraid of the dark. One day Amos wakes up sick and can't go to work. When his riends (the animals) realize Amos is not coming to work, they decide to bring the zoo to him. T...more
Amy Musser
Winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal, this understated picture book features the dedicated and loyal friendship between zookeeper, Amos McGee, and his friends, the zoo animals. Amos is a man of routine and although he’s a busy man, he visits his friends once a day. The time Amos spends with each of his friends is special and unique and shows Amos’ dedication and love for his friends. One day when Amos cannot work because he is sick in bed, his friends take the bus to take care of him, just as he h...more
Andrea Gray
A Sick Day For Amos McGee is a sweet story written by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Erin E. Stead. It's a simple book with a bigger picture of kindness and thoughtfulness and what people, and in this case, animals and Amos McGee, will do for each other. A Sick Day is a winner of The Caldecott Medal and it gets no argument from me.

Amos is an elderly man who wakes up every morning, hops on the bus and visits his friends in the zoo. The story takes us on a little journey through the zoo and a...more

In this story, Amos McGee is a charming elderly man whose daily routine includes taking the bus to the City Zoo and visiting his animal friends. He even races the tortoise and plays chess with the elephant! When he gets sick one day and cannot make it, the animals take the bus to come see him.

This book won the Caldecott Medal for 2011. I would classify it as fantasy because of the way the animals interact with Amos, but other than their characterization, the plot is traditional. The illu...more
Andrea Wickenhagen
This one captured my heart just from the cover. The drawings are all done with fine pencil work, yet every character and picture includes great detail. The characters and important pieces throughout the book are the parts done in color. While the rest appears to be simply be a range of white to black. With only the main parts done in color they seem to leap of f the page at you, and allow you to focus on the important parts. But when you look past the color jumping off the page you see that ther...more
Emmeline Guest
Amos McGee is an elderly zookeeper at the city zoo; but Amos is no ordinary zookeeper and the animals are no ordinary animals. Everyday Amos plays chess with the elephant, runs races the tortoise and reads to the Owl. One morning, Amos wakes up with the sniffles and the sneezes and decides to take the day off work. When the animals realize Amos is not coming to visit them, they march to the bus stop, climb aboard bus number 5 and take it all the way to Amos ‘s house - where the animals play with...more
Audience: Pre-K - 5th Grade. This could be used with social workers, counselors, and therapists to discuss true friendships. Students that like animals would also like this book.
Appeal: This is a simple, gentle story that shows the relationship between an older gentlemen and the animals he takes care of at the zoo. The book highlights how he individualizes his actions based on the needs of each animal, for example the owl gets a bedtime book read to him because he is afraid of the dark. The auth...more
“A Sick Day for Amos McGee” by Philip C. Stead is about a zookeeper whose animal friends come to visit him when he is sick. The story was very sweet, with the shy penguin, the tortoise, the owl, rhino, and elephant. It is adorable to see the certain character traits each character has, including the owls fear of the dark. But what is most touching about the story is how Amos’s friends return the favors he has done for them on his day sick. The story is a wonderfully illustrated story. The backgr...more
Patricia (Patricia's Particularity)
Amos McGee, a zookeeper, finds complete happiness in taking care and visiting the animals of the zoo. He spends time with each animal in different ways: racing the tortoise, reading stories to an owl who is afraid of the dark, talking to a shy penguin, and playing chess with an elephant.

One day Amos McGee gets sick and is not able to go to work. His zoo animal friends notice his absence and worry about him. Because of Amos McGee's unwavering friendship, they visit him at home and spend time wit...more
Chrissy Muller
I thought this book had a great message to it! The end showed that the power of friendship could conquer many things. I think a moral that could go along this would be to treat others how you would like to be treated. Amos' job was working at the City Zoo taking care of the animals that had various issues. When he had a bad day, they all came to his side to take care of him like he does for them. I would definitely read this book to my students if they enjoy animals, and are compassionate toward...more
Olivia Lavelle
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Phillip C. Stead is a book about an old zookeeper who has this special relationship with the animals. One day the zookeeper gets sick and stays home. The animals are wondering where the zookeeper is, so they all went to his house and kept him company as well as take care of him. Amos McGee was a caring, loving, and a considerate fellow to his zoo friends. He was a busy man who still made time to do activities with his friends. I think this is a fantastic book to read...more
Rilla and I are in love. What a sweet, gentle, quirky story. Amos is an elderly fellow who works at the zoo, where he always makes time to visit with his friends. Chess with elephant, a race with tortoise, a quiet moment shared with a shy penguin. When Amos stays home sick one day, his animal pals (and a floating red balloon) set off to find him. Rilla giggled the whole way through this lovely, quiet book. "Again, again!" she begged the moment we finished. The second time through, she lingered o...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
This Caldecott-winning picture book has an absolutely charming story of a beloved zookeeper and the animals who take care of him for a change when he gets sick. I liked the sweetness of all the characters, and details like the fact that the zookeeper has bunny slippers.

Ironically, though this won the Caldecott for its artwork, that is the part of the book I didn't find very appealing. The old-fashioned drawings in faded colors, done with woodblock and pencil, are a little too twee for me. All th...more
Julie Grasso
This is stunningly beautiful book. Truly a classic in the making.
This book is a 2011 Caldecott Medal Winner. The audience this book is geared towards would include boys and girls in kindergarten through second grade. The book is appealing due to its story and the illustrations. It is a story about a man, Amos McGee, who takes care of and plays with animals at the zoo. One day, Amos McGee is too sick to go to work at the zoo. The zoo animals miss him and they go to his home so they can take care and play with Amos McGee. This is a sweet story about friendship...more
Anna Larson
I really enjoyed this feel good book about friendship and compassion. Amos McGee is a man who works for the city zoo, and he is always doing everything for others. And by others I mean the animals. When one day Amos gets sick, the animals take care of him for a change. It is heartwarming to see such a good representation of friendship, and it is shown through animals. Another way that this book reflects the theme, is that the illustrations are created by hand using woodblock printing techniques...more
Bradley Clay
A Sick Day for Amos Mcgee by Philip C. Stead was the 2011 Caldecott Award winner. The book is about a zookeeper named Amos Mcgee. Amos Mcgee would spent time with the animals everyday by playing chess, reading to them, and even just sitting with them. One day Amos got sick and took a sick day. When the word got out that he was sick, the animals came to him like he always came to them. This is a great book that teaches us that if we do good things, good things will come to us.
Text to Self: After...more
Kelsey Abbott
A Sick Day For Amos McGee

An adorable story of how if you are there for your friends, then your friends will be there for you when it maters the most. It goes to show you the little things you do for them may be more important to them then you realize.

Text to Self:
I loved this story of how strong of a friendship two people can have with each other. This makes me think of a couple different friendships I have, but more importantly it makes me think of my grandparents. Similar to the older gentlema...more
I thought A Sick Day for Amos McGee was an extremely cute story. It represents a great deal of selflessness and friendship. A group of friends- who happen to be animals- all rely on Amos McGee- their zoo keeper- to make their days a little more special. When Amos doesn't show up for work, the animals drop what they're doing and go to Amos' house instead. The reciprocate all the kind things Amos does for them to help Amos feel better from his cold. I think the whole premise of the book is very sw...more
A review of A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Rachel Langenfeld
The central message of this book is to treat your friends as you would want to be treated. Friendship and caring for others is an important life lesson.
I will begin to introduce the book by asking students to think about their own friendships and relationships with people whom they care about. They should consider the following: How do you treat others? And How do you want others to treat you? By thinking about their own friends they can...more
Have you ever had a friend that was sick and didn’t come to school? This book explains what happens when Amos McGee couldn’t make it to the zoo to help out his animal friends. The animals miss his friend and shows what true friendship is about. Even though they don’t come to school you still care where they are and how they are doing. Just like when the man in the yellow hat helps out Curious George with everything. The man in the yellow hat does everything for Curious George and the one time t...more
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